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OMA Talks Speaker Series

Learn about events that feature members who speak on topical health care issues.


Within the community of OMA members, there is an extraordinary number of experts, innovators, leaders and teachers. Through OMATalks, we will shine a spotlight on these physicians. 

Launched in 2019, this TED-Talks-style initiative will feature topical health-care issues, new ideas and celebrate the physicians leading the way to improve health care for all. Using these influential voices, we aim to start new conversations and make these ground-breaking discussions accessible to every Ontarian.

These events will be open to all OMA members, and will be recorded and shared on YouTube to reach as wide an audience as possible.

Previous events

Healing the Gender Gap

How do we heal the gender gap in medicine? Over 300 physicians joined Dr. Sharon Straus, Dr. Gianni Lorello, Dr. Tara Kiran and Dr. Michelle Cohen for an evening of thoughtful dialogue moderated by the CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti.

Healing the Gender Gap was the second topic featured as part of the OMA thought leadership series OMATalks. This event was held virtually on November 27, 2020, the evening before the Fall 2020 Council Meeting.

Healing the Gender Gap panel discussion and Q&A (Vimeo)

Healing the Gender Gap event  (Vimeo)


Dr. Tara KiranDr. Tara Kiran

Tara Kiran is the Fidani Chair in Improvement and Innovation and Vice-Chair Quality and Innovation in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto. Much of her research has focused on evaluating the impact of Ontario’s primary care reforms on quality of care.

Kiran practices family medicine at the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team, where she led the Quality Improvement program from 2011 to 2018. Under her leadership, the team began to collect and report more than 20 quality indicators, survey patients on their care experience, engage patients in service design, and make improvements in areas like timely access and cancer screening.

Kiran is an associate professor at the University of Toronto, a scientist in the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital, and an adjunct scientist at ICES. She has held a number of leadership roles, including Board Chair of her Family Health Team, Provincial Clinical Lead for the Ontario Diabetes Strategy and Primary Care Physician Lead for the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network.

Dr. Michelle CohenDr. Michelle Cohen

Michelle Cohen is a family physician in rural southeastern Ontario. She has a comprehensive general practice at the Lakeview Family Health Team in Brighton and runs sexual health clinics in Brighton and Campbellford via the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Queen’s University and works as a community preceptor for medical trainees to gain exposure to rural primary care.

Cohen has given talks on sexism in medicine, health care advocacy and caring for gender diverse patients, among other topics. She recently published a pioneering academic paper on the gender pay gap in Canadian medicine and intends to continue researching this issue.

Outside of her clinical and academic work, Dr. Cohen has authored articles on health policy and health equity for CBC, Maclean’s, the Toronto Star, the Medical Post and other outlets. She also co-chairs the Advocacy Committee of Canadian Women in Medicine, through which several advocacy projects have successfully moved the needle on social progress in the profession.

Dr. Gianni LorelloDr. Gianni Lorello

Gianni R. Lorello is a staff anesthesiologist at Toronto Western Hospital – University Health Network and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. He is the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer for the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, a selected member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion working group at the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society, and a member of the Civility, Diversity, and Inclusion committee for the Ontario Medical Association.

Lorello is also a cross-appointed researcher at the Wilson Centre, adjunct scientist at the Women’s College Research Institute, and an Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada Visiting Scholar. He is currently a Health Professions Education Research PhD student at the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation at the University of Toronto, learning critical social theory.

Lorello’s research focuses on gender, racial, and ethnic disparities within anesthesiology and across medicine, and a better understanding of how a continuum model of gender shifts academic dialogue, avoiding polarization via gender binaries that leads to segregation and isolation rather than diversity and inclusion.

Dr. Sharon StrausDr. Sharon Straus

Sharon E. Straus is a geriatrician and clinical epidemiologist who trained at the University of Toronto and the University of Oxford. She is the Director of the Knowledge Translation Program and the first female Physician-in-Chief at St. Michael’s Hospital and a professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Straus holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation and Quality of Care and has authored more than 500 peer-reviewed publications and three textbooks in evidence-based medicine, knowledge translation and mentorship. Since 2015, she has consistently been in the top 1% of highly cited clinical researchers as per Web of Science and has an H-index of 99.

She holds more than $57 million in peer-reviewed research grants as a principal investigator, and has received national awards for mentorship, research and education.



Anna Maria TremontiAnna Maria Tremonti

Anna Maria Tremonti was, until recently, the host of Canada’s most popular radio program, The Current. Listeners from around the world tuned in to her compelling interviews on everything from the politics of the day, to the changes that affect our society, to the stories of individuals whose personal journeys and traumas affect us all. A masterful storyteller and two-time Gemini Award winner, Tremonti delivers talks that touch the human spirit and captivate audiences.

After 17 years with The Current, Tremonti has now moved into the world of digital communication with a new way of telling stories and sharing ideas, through original podcasts that illuminate, challenge and surprise.

She is also a former foreign correspondent and war correspondent who spent close to a decade posted in Berlin, London, Jerusalem and Washington. Her ongoing coverage of major international stories includes the breakup of the former Soviet Union, the war in Bosnia, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the politics of the Arab world, Europe, the United States and Canada.

AI: Physicians in the 21st Century

What is the role of physicians in the 21st century? With that question, the OMA launched a new thought leadership forum entitled OMATalks in 2019. The inaugural event featured a keynote speech, a panel discussion, and a Q&A session. The first OMATalks was held on November 22, 2019, in conjunction with the 2019 fall council meeting in Toronto.

See more details on the event.

Keynote speaker

Dr. Steven WartmanDr. Steven Wartman, M.D., Ph.D., MACP

Dr. Steven Wartman, author of “The Role of the Physician in the 21st Century,” is recognized internationally for his work in the organization and management of academic health centers. He is both an internist and sociologist, receiving his MD and PhD degrees from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Wartman served from 2005-2018 as president of the Association of Academic Health Centres, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit association that advocates for the education of the next generation of health care professionals, cutting edge research and comprehensive patient care. Prior to that, he was executive vice president for Academic and Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He is recognized internationally for his work involving the organization and management of academic health centers, where he has taken the lead on many critical issues, including the need for alignment among an institution’s clinical, research and education programs. Dr. Wartman’s keynote will provide the context in which panelists will discuss how artificial intelligence is changing the practice of medicine.



Dr. Frank RudziczDr. Frank Rudzicz, Ph.D.

Dr. Frank Rudzicz, is a scientist at the International Centre for Surgical Safety of St. Michael’s Hospital, part of United Health Toronto, who focuses on machine learning in health care, especially natural language processing, speech recognition and surgical safety. He is also director of AI at Surgical Safety Technologies and a faculty member of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the University of Toronto. He is the recent recipient of the Young Investigator award from the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada and the Connaught Innovation Award. Rudzizc and his colleagues and developing a surgical “black box” that uses data from the operating room to help reduce distractions and errors during surgery.


Dr. Muhammad MamdaniDr. Muhammad Mamdani, MPH, MA, PharmD

Dr. Muhammad Mamdani, the vice president of Data Science and Advanced Analytics at Unity Heath Toronto. He is also director of the network’s Li Ka Shing Centre for Healthcare Analytics Research and Training (CHART) where he supports data scientists to work with advanced analytics approaches, such as artificial intelligence, leveraging hospital data to identify and solve health care issues. He’s also a professor at the University of Toronto, the author of hundreds of research studies and in 2010 was named one of Canada’s top 40 under 40 for his research.




Dr. Samantha HIllDr. Samantha Hill

Dr. Samantha Hill was elected by the OMA Council as President-Elect in 2019. Dr. Hill is a cardiac surgeon located in Toronto. Dr. Hill has held several positions within the OMA, including Board Director (2018-19), Cardiac Surgery Delegate (2017-18), Member of the Human Resources Committee, Member of the Issues Task Force Committee, Audit Committee Member, and District 11 Delegate. She received the University of Toronto’s Fitzgerald Teaching Award in 2017.